Sunday, July 30, 2017

DIY: Book Shelf to Jewelry Display

Shortly after we bought our house, Nick and I converted an under-eaves storage space in our bedroom into a closet, since our almost 95-year-old house seriously lacks closet space. I mentioned it before, but I'll say it again: we don't have a single closet on the main floor of our home. Not. one. closet.

While our under-eaves closet provides much needed storage space for our clothes, the downside is that it's actually an unfinished space over our porch and therefore unheated and terribly cold in winter. This means that during most of the cold weather months that the door remains shut, and we only open it to dash in and out to retrieve a partially frozen piece of clothing. :)

While I'm going on and on about our closet, I'm actually really here to share a recent organization project with you.

I previously stored all of my jewelry and scarves on a pegboard and rod behind our bedroom's closet door; while this worked perfectly fine as a storage solution two things about it bothered me:

In the morning when I dressed, I often walked back and forth between the closet and the mirror across the room to see how different necklaces looked with my outfit.
Every time we opened and closed the closet door to keep the cold in, I could hear my necklaces swinging and scraping across the back of the door. No good.

So I started brainstorming new storage options and realized the built-in bookshelves in our bedroom offered a perfect solution. Rather than displaying only books and a decor items, I decided to turn one side of the shelves into a usable jewelry display.

The first step was to paint. A few years ago I'd painted the back of our bookcases blue to complement our bed's comforter, but we've since replaced the comforter, and with plans to display my jewelry, I decided to bring the shelves back to basic white to reduce visual clutter.

Once I had the the back panel of the of the bookshelves painted white, I started sourcing items. The hardest item to locate was the mirror; I wanted something ornate and stainless, and of course it had to fit the space, so finding those things in the right-sized mirror took a few weeks. I finally found the one below online at Bed, Bath and Beyond and had it shipped to the store.

Next, I needed a way to hang all of my statement necklaces. I found these Umbra brand 3-tier jewelry trees on Amazon for $20 a piece. They are very sturdy so there's no worry about them toppling over when loaded with chunky necklaces, and I like that they are tall enough for hanging longer length necklaces without them pooling.

I also picked up a few inexpensive bowls and containers, and gathered a few items from around the house, to hold smaller accessories, such as rings, bracelets and earrings.

I found this darling mini emerald green glass cake stand for bracelets and a trinket dish for rings and pins at Anthropologie in their house and home section.

I used a small bowl, which belonged to Nick's grandfather, to collect my bracelets and watches, and I lined my collection of sunglasses on the same shelf. On the bottom shelf, which I've changed up a bit since taking these pictures, I used a metal container to corral rolled scarves.

To hold my earrings, I found this wooden egg holder for $20 on Etsy.

On the other side of the room, I styled the shelves with some books, candles and vases, framed photos of our families, and some faux greenery for color.

I'm really happy with how the shelves turned out; it's nice to have everything together and visible and not hidden away in our (sometimes freezing but currently suffocatingly hot) closet, but it also created a pretty spot in our room.

Overall, I think the jewelry shelves are as stylish as they are useful, which is a win-win in my book! :) I'll post soon about one more change we made to our bedroom.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A real drag

One of the most frightening experiences that Nick and I have had on our boat happened last summer, while not even sailing, when we dragged anchor during a heavy thunderstorm. The bad thing about boats is that because of things like currents, shifting winds and poor ground holding they just don't stay where you put them. And anchoring isn't as easy as throwing the anchor over the side of the boat. When we anchor, we factor in water depth, wind direction, our boat's free board (or distance from the water line), tide, and anticipated weather conditions to determine how we anchor and how much rode (chain or rope) we let out. And then we pretty much say a prayer...or stay up all night.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

An offshore sailing adventure

I'm so excited to share a recent sailing adventure that Nick and I took in early April. As background, last year we attended a sailing seminar during the annual Annapolis, Maryland sailboat show that featured Andy Schell and Mia Karlsson, a young married couple with a passion for sailing. Andy is a longtime sailor and full of knowledge, which he shares on this podcast, On The Wind. Mia is his delightful, smart and incredibly hardworking first mate. Together they've crossed the Atlantic Ocean and logged more than 50,000 miles of ocean sailing. Nick and I really enjoyed listening to Andy and Mia at the seminar and afterwards started more closely following their sailing podcast and blog.

Monday, April 17, 2017

United for breakfast: Chicken sausage egg scramble recipe

I was on a long United Airlines flight recently (this was before they started kicking passengers off their planes) and was perusing the in-flight menu for snack options when I came across a photo of a really yummy looking egg scramble. Eggs are hands-down my favorite breakfast - I'd choose an egg dish any day over a stack of pancakes or french toast - and while I'm not daring enough to try an egg-based meal on a plane, I did snap a picture of it to recreate at home.

Nick and I made up a simple recipe and prepared this egg scramble Easter morning, and we both really enjoyed it, so I thought I'd share it here as an idea for a great holiday breakfast or brunch recipe to impress guests. The combination of ingredients is unique and it looks as good as it tastes.

    Sunday, March 19, 2017

    Puerto Rico {Trip Report}

    In early December, Nick and I took a somewhat last minute trip to Puerto Rico for a week of sun and relaxing. Flights from D.C. to San Juan, Puerto Rico are direct and relatively cheap (we actually flew there for less than our flights to Wisconsin for the holidays). Given my hectic work travel schedule at the end of the year and the loss of a dear loved one right before the Thanksgiving holiday, we didn't do very much advance trip planning; not over-planning the trip allowed us to enjoy perfectly lazy days slowly exploring Puerto Rico and enjoying the warmth and sunshine of its many beaches.

    Sunday, March 5, 2017

    My favorite things

    Happy 2017! To kick off the new year, I wanted to share a few of my favorite things. These are products I’d buy again in a heartbeat, no questions asked, because they consistently perform. In fact, in many cases, we re-purchased these items for our “home away from home” (aka the boat) because we couldn’t do without them.

    Jojoba oil (pronounced ho-ho-ba)


    I started using jojoba oil about a decade ago, and it’s one of the only personal care products that I’ve consistently used for years. It’s light, unscented and very moisturizing. In winter, I add a few drops to my daytime face lotion, and at night I pat it on top of my night cream to lock in the moisture. In a pinch, it works well as a makeup remover and for dry hands and chapped lips.

    Thursday, December 29, 2016

    Knock, Knock...anyone there?

    I wish I had some grand excuse for my radio silence, but the honest truth is that Nick and I simply spent our summer and fall working, traveling and enjoying our weekends on our sailboat. Alas, we are now landlocked, and I’m back to say hello and happy almost-2017!

    So where did we disappear to for half the year? Well we spent almost every weekend from April through November on the water and had so much fun during our second sailing season now that we had a little bit more experience under our belts. We also had a lot more wind than last summer, which allowed us to use our boat’s engine less and get much more practice with the sails.


    Tuesday, May 3, 2016

    A favorite quick-and-easy dinner

    It's been awhile since I've done a cooking post, so I wanted to share recipes for one of Nick's and my favorite and simplest meals: spatchcock cilantro lime roasted chicken, baked sweet potatoes with a scallion yogurt sauce, and a basic tomato and cucumber side salad with a lemon-olive oil dressing. 
    I wrote last year about how we plan and prepare our meals, and shared that while we love to cook and usually make full course dinners throughout the week, we strive for simple, healthy and easy meals to help cut down on our time in the kitchen, and this is one of those!

    I have to note in advance, that this meal is very simple to prepare and doesn't require an elaborate ingredient list, but it does take about 45 minutes of prep and oven cooking time - it's totally worth it though since it looks like it comes straight from a restaurant's kitchen.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Recently Read


    When I was in Wisconsin over the holidays, Nick's mother and I chatted about what we were reading, which gave me the idea to share some of my favorite and recently read books here, in case anyone else is looking for suggestions.

    I've always enjoyed reading for pleasure and typically read at least a book a week. I rarely sit and read for any real length of time though, except in summer when we are on the boat; I sneak in most of my reading to and from work on the subway, at lunch while I eat, and for a few minutes before heading to bed.

    If you are a book lover like I am, I recommend Good Reads, a free website and mobile app for book descriptions, reviews and ratings. It also allows you to track what you've read and would like to in the future, and you can even follow friends and peruse their reading lists. At the beginning of the year, Good Reads challenges you to enter a reading goal for the year and tracks your progress. I challenged myself to read 40 books for the year; so far I have nine books done and just started another.

    Just a note that while I like nonfiction, I tend to read mostly fiction (who doesn't need a break from reality?), and I rarely read the most current books, since I (electronically) check out all of my books from the D.C. public library.

    Thursday, March 24, 2016

    Hoppy, Hoppy Easter

    I've always enjoyed celebrating holidays, and really, any excuse to eat jelly beans and color eggs continues to appeal to the child in me. Aside from Easter's traditional meaning, the holiday also makes me feel excited because it often arrives with Spring in tow.

    Easter is early this year and thankfully, it brought the spring weather with it. Despite our big blizzard in January, overall D.C. had a pretty mild winter, so spring is in full swing and many of the flowers and plants around the city are blooming, including the cherry blossom trees, which are very close to peak bloom.

    To celebrate the arrival of Spring and the Easter holiday, I wanted to share our dinner menu below. You can check out our previous Easter dinner menus here and here.